The company's logo hangs from the Boeing Building headquarters in Chicago. The company moved to Chicago from the Seattle area in 2001. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
May 6 (UPI) -- After more than two decades in Chicago, aircraft manufacturer Boeing has announced that it will move its world headquarters to the Washington, D.C., area and develop a tech hub in the area.
The company announced its move to Arlington, Va., on Thursday and said that the move to a new global headquarters will include developing a research and technology there.
"We are excited to build on our foundation here in Northern Virginia," Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said in a statement. "The region makes strategic sense for our global headquarters given its proximity to our customers and stakeholders."
Boeing explained its aerospace and defense firm in the region also specializes in advanced airplane development and autonomous systems while supporting its various corporate functions.
The aircraft manufacture said it will maintain a "significant presence" in Chicago despite the move.
Virgina Gov. Glenn Younkin welcomed the announcement on Twitter.
"Boeing is one of America's great pioneering businesses & I am thrilled the company has decided to headquarter in VA & look forward to working with them to attract even more talent to VA," he said in a statement.
Boeing said that during the last two years of the pandemic it implemented polices to reduce its office space needs, and that less office space is now needed at his Chicago facility for "the employees who will continue to be based there."
"This helps us channel investments toward our critical manufacturing and engineering facilities and training resources," Calhoun said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in response that 67 corporations so far this year have either relocated to the city or expanded their business, which follows 173 doing similarly last year.
"While Boeing has decided to move their headquarters to another city, they will still maintain a presence in Chicago," she said in a statement. "What remains to be true is that Chicago is a major hub for global corporations that recognize our diverse workforce, expansive infrastructure and thriving economy."
Boeing for decades had been headquartered in Seattle, but moved to Chicago in 2001 after the Windy City beat out Dallas and Denver for the relocation.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure, accused Boeing of moving closer to the capital to better lobby federal regulators and politicians.
He said in a statement that the company's first move to Chicago was "a tragic mistake" that distanced Boeing from focusing on engineering world-class airplanes.
"Moving their headquarters again, this time to be closer to the federal regulators and policymakers in Washington, D.C., is another step in the wrong direction. Boeing's problem isn't a lack of access to government, but rather its ongoing production problems and the failures of management and the board that led to the fatal crashes of the 737 Max," he said, referring to the aircraft involved in two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Kenya months apart that resulted in the deaths of 346 people.